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Wednesday 2nd September 2015, 05:23 BST | Cambridge,UK

Students for Sale

Katherine Faulkner discovers just what students will do for cash

A Varsity investigation into Cambridge student jobs has uncovered undergraduates working as prostitutes and strippers during term time, as well as a plethora of students selling essays and dates for cash.

One Cambridge student has admitted to spending her first undergraduate year working as a call girl, charging £50 per hour. Unbeknown to her friends, the finalist slept with between 40 and 50 men for money over two months, and once with seven men in a single night.

“I did have a day job at the same time, but it just wasn’t paying enough,” she told Varsity. “I met other students who did it too. Once you’ve done it, it is tempting. If you need quick, easy money, it’s there.” The student, who has since given up the practice, said that she would get calls out to students “maybe once or twice a fortnight.”

Another cash-strapped undergraduate travelled to a northern city on weekends to strip for clients in return for up to £100 per dance.

“It can be so degrading,” she admits, “but, when I’m home, I’m not going to stack shelves at Morrison’s for £5.50 an hour when I could do this. There are the moments I really don’t want to do it, but it is certainly character building. My worst fear is dancing up there in front of someone I know, but everyone has to do it.”

Takemetodinner.com claim that 450 Cambridge students and alumni are members of their escorting site, which was formerly known as Oxbridge Escorts. Of these, 342 advertise escorting services, charging anywere up to £300 for a single date. The company pride themselves on their selection of “elite dates”, a status reserved for Oxbridge and ‘Ivy League’ educated escorts.

But they claim that despite the high prices and suggestive profiles the website “has always been and always will be strictly a dinner date service”, and that “inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated”.

Clients liked the fact that I was a Cambridge student, and so did the agency. They liked having a classier girl there. It was good for business.


CAMBRIDGE STUDENT, 21, FORMER PROSTITUTE

Even more widespread was the completion of work for the Oxbridge Essays service, a practice which the university has condemned as “cheating, or complicit with cheating.” John Foster, head of sales at Oxbridge Essays, estimates that the company has “at least 500” Cambridge students and alumni on their books.

One student claimed to have made £2,000 by selling essays to the company, but said he could make up to £200 per week. “If someone’s stupid enough to buy essays on the internet, then I don’t really care about their economic future,” he said.
Some Cambridge graduate students are even on “scholarships” of up to £10,000 per year, which they pay back to the company by writing briefs.

The university’s board of graduate studies is looking to modify its existing plagiarism clause in order to prohibit this, calling the scheme “an attempt to deliberately degrade the academic integrity of the university.”

“That’s a fairly ludicrous and ill-considered statement,” said Foster. “The fact is that most people just can’t get that money elsewhere. They face a stark choice between getting some funding and not doing postgraduate study at all.”

Katherine Faulkner


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